Mysterious Matters Spanks Some, Thanks Others

At Mysterious Matters there is an excellent post that cuts through all the blather and gets to the heart of the state of publishing fiction. It also addresses policies of organizations, review sites, discussion lists and I find that many of the sites they take issue with are ones I've had my own personal concerns about in the past. For every thousand people who recycle the sound bites, who believe the standard press of the party line, who are afraid to piss off the supposed 'high and mighty' of the industry, there's one person out there, like the writer of this post, who's willing to call it like they see it.

Highly recommended reading.

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Comment by Jack Getze on January 6, 2010 at 5:22pm
Chris Grabenstein.
Comment by Sandra Ruttan on January 6, 2010 at 10:33am
Who does, Jack? (Ducks and runs!)
Comment by Jack Getze on January 6, 2010 at 9:56am
My only problem with the guy, he doesn't like first person, present tense.
Comment by Pepper Smith on January 6, 2010 at 8:50am
He (I think it's a he) calls himself Agatho, and has posted in the past about his job as an editor at a small press.

I've been reading that blog for a while, and have found the posts to be generally very informative.
Comment by R. Michael Phillips on January 6, 2010 at 6:45am
You're right about Mysterious Matters. You can count on them for straight talk about the state of fiction. Good post.
Comment by Sandra Ruttan on January 6, 2010 at 6:09am
To be honest, it isn't really a site I've followed much. Constraints of time. But there's a lot of interesting advice on the site. I think what always stands out to me is when someone goes against the grain, and doesn't regurgitate the same old, same old, particularly if they do so in a thoughtful manner, with reasoning behind them.

I mean, on the one hand, as an author, I like the idea of being paid an advance. Certainly I do. But on the other hand, I know that if you go do an estimate for an electrical job or carpentry work or plumbing, you go out, give your time and expertise to make an assessment, give the estimate, and you might not get hired. You might just be out the time. And even then, if you're hired, you do the work and then get paid. I know it well, growing up with parents who run their own business.

So there are all these curiosities for me, like why it is that advances are a sign of legitimacy and lack of advances signify you aren't legit. I don't know the history, but I think it would be interesting to see how it developed. I think sometimes that maybe if actors/directors etc. were all getting percentage of royalties instead of huge pay-outs, we'd see better performances. The thing with authors is, especially with reserves against returns and how those are calculated, most don't believe they'll ever see a royalty check. If they don't believe that, are they as motivated to work the books when released? Or are the interviews/signings more about ego than about out-earning?

Just curiosities. I suppose there are different answers for everyone. Like I said, I like the idea of getting a nice advance... but I definitely understand that that may hurt new authors now more than ever, as publishers are unwilling to take risks on unknown commodities who may not out-earn the advance.
Comment by Jon Loomis on January 6, 2010 at 4:15am
Interesting, Sandra. Who is this guy?
Comment by Sandra Ruttan on January 6, 2010 at 3:49am
Glad you found it helpful. I was quite (pleasantly) surprised when I read the post. I know the industry faces a lot of challenges, but I think we have to be willing to try new approaches and try to make things work, for everyone. It really shouldn't be publisher vs author. It's a shame that's the way it seems to be most of the time.
Comment by Dana King on January 6, 2010 at 3:39am
Thanks for the tip. Not only was that an interesting post, but the whole blog appears to be worth following. I just signed up for the feed.
Comment by B.R.Stateham on January 6, 2010 at 3:36am
Good article--and as a small time independent press author, I appreciate his stance concerning the 'forgotten' like me.

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